By Nancy I. Maanao
(Tumon, Guam) U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Sablan told Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie, Jr. to treat the veterans of the Northern Mariana Islands with the dignity they deserve. Mr. Sablan's comments to Mr. Wilkie were made in a hearing of the House Veterans Affairs Committee on February 28, in Washington, D.C.
Watch the video and read the transcript of his speech below:
"I'm so envious, you know, the gentleman here is complaining that he doesn't have a hospital, that he's got several CBOCs (Community-based Outpatient Clinics). I don't have a CBOC. I don't have a vet center. You guys were talking about programs, caregivers and HUD VASH. Those are not available in my district because VA will not put staff in my district!
"I've got nothing except for a fee-based doctor who's available twice a week to see almost 400 veterans, or almost 500. We have to figure something out better than what we're giving these veterans. Sir, when they put on a uniform, they are just as much American as you are. And yet when they get wounded and they go to the islands, they're only half Americans. It's enough that they don't vote for their Commander-in-Chief, sir! Give them some decency."